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or ideas into which the objects known to us can be resolved do
not depend on the nature of the soul, ** The soul is originally a
tabula rasa in the most absolute sense, without any form of life
or presentation: consequently, there are in it neither primitive
ideas, not any predisposition to form them. All ideas, without
exception, are a product of time and experience."* That being
so, it is obvious that we must not think of the mind as evolving
from within, but rather as being formed from without by contact
with the world of men and things; and since this makes education
a process of mind-forming by the supply and direction of
experiences, it becomes important to have some idea of how the
mind is actually made. Here the depictment of presentations as
forces is helpful. A sound or a smell—to take the simplest of
presentations—has a qualitative character of its own, but that can
be ignored. The point is that, whatever more they are, all pre-
sentations are like forces in that they appear, grow stronger or
weaker, and gradually pass away as though their energy were
spent. On this analogy each presentation or idea is to be regarded
as a form of activity. Once it enters the soul, it is transformed into
" a striving to present itself/' and in the absence of any competing
presentation it rises at once above the threshold of consciousness.
But at any one time there is usually a number of presentations
all seeking attention, and whether any particular one will succeed
in forcing its way into consciousness depends on the character of
its competitors. Some presentations are contrary, and therefore
mutually exclusive. Red and blue, for example, come into
conflict when presented together. One or other is bound to dis-
appear from consciousness and become a mere tendency to
reappear under more favourable conditions. Other presentations
are similar. When a presentation similar to others already in
consciousness appears, a fusion takes place, which gives the new
presentation a greater strength than it has as a unit. Others,
again, are neither similar nor contrary, but simply disparate.
Presentations of colour, shape and smell, for example, cannot fuse
and they do not conflict; but they may form a complex or mass
as when we have before our minds an object which is red and
round and pungent. Here then we have in these varied relations
of presentations the mechanism of the soul by which the systems
of ideas that constitute the individual mind are made up. Herbart
* Psychologic els Wissenscfaft, $ iao.